Sunday

21st Oct 2018

EU asked to intervene in crisis in Caucuses

Amid threats of war, the president of Azerbaijan today called on the EU to step up its involvement in solving a 16-year old ethnic and border dispute with Armenia.

During a visit to Brussels, Ilham Aliyev asked the Commission President, Romano Prodi, to help resolve the crisis in the southwestern region of Nagorno-Karabakh that has seen the two countries at loggerheads for more than a decade.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The territorial dispute has remained unsolved since the majority Armenian population tried to secede after the break up of the Soviet Union.

The ensuing war was thought to have cost 30,000 lives.

Although there has been relative peace since a ceasefire accord was signed in 1994, it has been an uneasy truce and recently tensions have appeared to be on the rise.

Before his visit to Brussels on Tuesday, Mr Aliyev was reported to have remarked that another war with their Caucasian neighbours was a possibility if ongoing talks fail.

In Brussels however he was more conciliatory - just.

"Azerbaijan intends to continue its policy to peaceful resolution of the conflict, but at the same time this resolution must be on the recognised principles of international law, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan", he said.

At the table

Talks are currently being shepherded along by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Minsk group lead by the Russian Federation, the United States and France.

And with six other EU countries participating in the process, there is reluctance on the part of the EU to be seen to be undermining its members.

"We are worried that the peace process is stopped", Mr Prodi said today, before adding, "Clearly we do not want to interfere with the Minsk Group but we are urging and pushing that the Minsk Group has some result".

But the Azeri government now wants a bigger role for the EU, something which has the potential of stepping on the toes of the European members of the Minsk Group.

President Ilayev said, "Of course the Minsk group will also actively continue its activity in finding a resolution, but at the same time Azerbaijan is very strongly interested that other important European organizations; first of all the European Union, would take a more active stand".

And as Brussels recently decided to include Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan in the ‘European Neighbourhood Policy’ - which aims to deepen ties with countries bordering the Union – the Commission may seem to be cautiously edging towards playing a greater role.

But the Commission’s attempts to deepen ties have brought critics.

Mr Aliyev came to power in last October’s elections, replacing his father, amid allegations of widespread election fraud and the EU has been accused of turning a blind eye to the poor human rights situation in the country, because it is seeking to tap into the countries vast oil reserves.

Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times

Covering two-third of the world's economic output and governing more than half of the world's population, the Europe and Asian leaders' summit in Brussels on Friday tests potentials for outlining a post-Trump world order.

EU looks at Morocco and Tunisia to offload migrants

EU member states and the European Commission are pressing ahead with plans to possibly use Morocco and Tunisia as countries to offload asylum seekers and migrants - part of larger bid to create a so-called "safe third country" list.

News in Brief

  1. Germany leads EU criticism of Saudi Arabia
  2. Huge pro-EU march takes place in London
  3. Macedonia MPs back name deal in initial vote
  4. EU to open trade talks with US on beef
  5. EU court orders Poland to suspend firing judges
  6. Japan to focus on circular economy at G20
  7. Italian budget 'significant deviation' from rules, says EU
  8. Podemos initiates debate on legalising marijuana in Spain

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. What Italy's budget row is actually about
  2. EU preparing 'concentration camps' for migrants in Africa
  3. Poland to respect EU injunction on judicial purge
  4. EU votes on Facebook and plastic This WEEK
  5. Top EU banks guilty of multi-billion tax fraud
  6. Polish left a glimmer of hope in fight against illiberal democracy
  7. Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times
  8. Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us